Author Archives: paulw94

DIG Article for Hughenden News Spring issue

HVRA Drainage Improvement Group

The Dew Pond

Along the footpath between Valley Road and Boss Lane, in the field on the right is a concrete lined pond shaded by a pretty Weeping Ash (albeit leafless at present). Locals will know this as the Dew Pond, put there for the watering of livestock.

The origins of dew ponds lie in pre-history, but are generally regarded as shallow depressions in grazing areas traditionally lined with puddling clay or chalk and allowed to fill themselves from moisture in the air. In practice it is generally considered that traditional dew ponds are just as likely to be filled by water runoff from the fields and, of course, rainfall. Essentially, a dew pond is an artificial rather than a natural feature. Most have largely disappeared and replaced by piped water supply.

The pond on Boss Lane Farm is a concrete construct, a relatively modern method introduced in the early 1900’s, but clearly used on many farms and this one fits the standard profile. The pond is not filled these days and the original tree (see both pictures) is possibly suffering from old age and Ash die back.

In the early days it seems likely that being adjacent to the Hughenden Winterbourne Stream, when the stream flowed it would feed the pond as it still does today. At some point a water supply was laid to enable water to be pumped from two wells on the farm to fill the pond.

As it happens, the pond is just on a hundred years old, built by a former owner of Boss Lane Farm somewhere between 1918 and 1922. Two photos accompany this article, one recently taken and the other, grainy picture is believed to be from the early 1930’s.

So, is this a proper dew pond? Well, yes, it would certainly seem so despite being later updated to a pumped water supply. And it may be that the pond we see was created where an earlier dew pond sat. To make a feature of the pond it would require restoration involving re-lining and a new water supply, possibly from a borehole, which would be an expensive process.

Long may it live as a rather nice village feature.

Thanks to Matt Hopkins for his help in putting this together.

DIG Activities

The winter has been relatively kind to us this year – it has been generally mild, not too wet and while the Hughenden Stream continues to flow merrily through the park, it is dry in its upper reaches.

The DIG will meet in March to discuss plans by the utility companies affecting the Valley and to plan our activities for the year. Typical work we are looking to get done this year include:

  • Fixing of puddling at the foot of Trees Road by TfB (In the budget, we understand)
  • Surveying and clearance of culverts & drains at the pumping station site by Affinity (promised last year…)
  • Continued work on monitoring and further lining of the Hughenden Sewer to prevent surface water ingress by Thames Water. (Apparently 139 metres along Warrendene Rd were lined last year).

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End January 2022

Affinity

During September the DIG met with Chris King of Affinity to get agreement on surveying the drainage pipes under the pumping station. This was agreed to but we have had no further contact from Chris on the subject, we assume due to pressure of work.

To try and get something done on this we have issued a complaint to the Affinity Estate Management team and asked them to find out what will be done and when about this work. Fortunately, mild and relatively dry weather this winter has meant that the drainage there has not been tested.

Road Drainage

The DIG is planning on doing an audit on road drains through the Valley during February. As it happens it already looks as though TfB have carried out some drain cleaning already without any prompting, which is encouraging.

DIG 2022 Kick-start Meeting

After a relatively quiet few months, the DIG is planning to hold a meeting in late February as a starter for the New Year and to allow us to formulate some actions for 2022.

We have requested the Agencies to provide us with their plans and hope to be able to review those at the meeting.

Flooding Training

Although we don’t associate Hughenden Valley with being in a flood risk area, there have been plenty of occasions across the years when roads and properties have been tested by high water table, prolonged rain and so on. As such, the council, Environment Agency and other organisations monitor us for flood risk.

It can therefore make sense to at least be aware of how to deal with flooding when it happens. The DIG website contains some useful advice regarding flooding on the Advice page. On a practical front, Community Impact Bucks are offering free flooding training during March, for those with an interest in the subject. See below.

Community Impact Bucks are running free flood resilience training for local residents in HUGHENDEN VALLEY and RADNAGE on 8TH March 2022 (2.30-4.30pm).

The training is open to anyone who would like to develop their community’s resilience to emergencies such as flooding, snow, other severe weather events or utilities failures. Attendees will find out what community resilience means and what it could look like, how to develop an action plan, and also how to apply for a grant from the Heart of Bucks’ Flood Recovery and Awareness Fund.which could be used for:

  • Capital items to replace those destroyed by flooding
  • Emergency repairs as a result of flood damage
  • Venue/room hire costs for relocating activities as a result of flooding
  • Community projects to prevent future flooding
  • Training for flood damage/prevention

Flood Resilience Training

Although we don’t associate Hughenden Valley with being in a flood risk area, there have been plenty of occasions across the years when roads and properties have been tested by high water table, prolonged rain and so on. As such, the council, Environment Agency and other organisations monitor us for flood risk.

It can therefore make sense to at least be aware of how to deal with flooding when it happens. The DIG website contains some useful advice regarding flooding on the Advice page. On a practical front, Community Impact Bucks are offering free flooding training during March, for those with an interest in the subject. See below.

Community Impact Bucks are running free flood resilience training for local residents in HUGHENDEN VALLEY and RADNAGE on 8TH March 2022 (2.30-4.30pm).

The training is open to anyone who would like to develop their community’s resilience to emergencies such as flooding, snow, other severe weather events or utilities failures. Attendees will find out what community resilience means and what it could look like, how to develop an action plan, and also how to apply for a grant from the Heart of Bucks’ Flood Recovery and Awareness Fund which could be used for:

  • Capital items to replace those destroyed by flooding
  • Emergency repairs as a result of flood damage
  • Venue/room hire costs for relocating activities as a result of flooding
  • Community projects to prevent future flooding
  • Training for flood damage/prevention

For more information about the Hughenden Valley/ Radnage flood training and to book, visit https://communityimpactbucks.org.uk/event/flood-resilience-training-for-communities-hughenden-valley-radnage/

DIG Article for HNews Winter Issue

Pumping Station Ditches and Culverts

During September Jerry Morley and Paul Woodford met with Chris King of Affinity in connection with the drainage issue we have at the pumping station at Hughenden Valley. Chris is a Surveyor with responsibilities for maintenance of infrastructure at Affinity properties.

Chris has agreed to organise a complete site survey at the pumping station, which will involve CCTV checks and, if appropriate, clearance on the two principal culverts under the site which carry the Hughenden stream. It will also involve checking boundaries and cutting back of trees and hedges which have become overgrown.

As a group the DIG are not convinced that these two culverts have sufficient capacity to keep the stream flowing properly when it is in spate. We have seen at least one instance in the last few years of the water in the Valley Road ditch coming right up to the top and threatening to flood onto the road. A simple solution would be for TfB to continue the ditch right along in front of the pumping station so that it could then empty round the perimeter fence of the site into the National Trust field.

Sewer Works in the Valley

One of the biggest problems with the Hughenden Valley sewage system is the ingress of water into the system that typically happens over the winter period. This is common in the country and happens with old infrastructure.

Fractures in pipes and inspection pit brickwork allow ground water to enter the system, whilst road surface water can enter through leaky inspection pit covers. Thames Water have stated in the past that under normal conditions, the sewers in our area run at about 40% of capacity. During a wet winter we know from bitter experience this can exceed 100%, causing spillages.

In the last issue of the magazine, we mentioned that Thames Water was carrying out work on sealing the covers to the sewage inspection pits along Warrendene. Further work was done in the same area in relation to the possible re-lining of the sewer.

This work was of an investigatory nature and Thames Water are seeking to identify leaky areas in our sewage system so that a reactive leak reduction plan can be implemented.

Interestingly, the re-lining of sewage pipes is an established process which can have a major benefit to leaky sewers. Effectively, it is a structural ‘No-Dig’ repair which creates a new pipe within a damaged sewer. A resin impregnated liner is inverted into a defective pipe, it is then pressurised and then cured to form a new pipe. We hope this work comes to pass.

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End September 2021

The transition of HVDIG into the HVRA is now complete. The final part was the closing down of the DIG email addresses, which means that we can now fully close down the old HVDIG website and email system run through TSOHOST. Email addresses for the DIG committee are now:

Peter Cannon: chairman@hughendenresidents.org

Paul Woodford: treasurer@hughendenresidents.org

Matt Hopkins: digdeputychair@hughendenresidents.org

Debs Lemon: digdeputysecretary@hughendenresidents.org

Sarah Mustapha: digsecretary@hughendenresidents.org

During September Jerry Morley and Paul Woodford met with Chris King of Affinity in connection with the drainage issue we have at the pumping station at Hughenden Valley. Chris is a Surveyor with responsibilities for maintenance of infrastructure at Affinity properties.

Chris has agreed to organise a complete site survey at the pumping station, which will involve CCTV checks and, if appropriate, clearance on the two principal culverts under the site which carry the Hughenden stream. It will also involve checking boundaries and cutting back of trees and hedges which have become overgrown.

As a group the DIG are not convinced that these two culverts have sufficient capacity to keep the stream flowing properly when it is in spate. We have seen at least one instance in the last few years of the water in the Valley Road ditch coming right up to the top and threatening to flood onto the road. A simple solution would be for TfB to continue the ditch right along in front of the pumping station so that it could then empty round the perimeter fence of the site into the National Trust field.

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End July 2021

DIG AGM

The DIG AGM was held during July. The main points were that the accounts for 2020/2021 were audited and signed off by Bob Hawkins, the bank accounts is now closed and funds transferred to HVRA. In addition, the new constitution was approved and officers agreed to continue.

Drainage Issues

Trees Rd suffered from a heavy day’s rain with the road grills overflowing and a large amount of puddling at the foot. The Trees Rd team cleared the grills a day or two after.

We reviewed this with Jonathan Roberts the drainage engineer from Bucks CC. He will consider possible additional work, such as joining the grill soakaways to the road drains pipeage. Also he will look at the road surface & edging blocks at the foot of Trees Rd. This will not be priority work.

The DIG team also met with Jonathan to look at the drainage issue that we have at the corner of Boss Lane by the Hopkins field gate and which can lead to flooding of Boss Lane. There is an issue of drainage pipe sizing here plus some other problems. We have not been successful in making progress. Jonathan agreed to conduct some research  into historical survey data and also to look at possible solutions to our problem.

Paul Woodford

Drainage Works in the Valley

Thames Water are currently carrying out drainage works up in Warrendene Road for a serious amount of work. We understand that the sewage inspection pits in the road are being re-rendered around the tops and the lids will then be sealed.

The purpose of this is to prevent the entry of surface water into the sewage system, which contributes significantly to the overloading of the system in Hughenden Valley.

We understand this work will be carried out over several weeks and go right down Valley Road as well as Warrendene. There may be disruption to road users as parts of the sewage system in upper Valley Road run along the centre of the road.

DIG Report End April 2021

Sewer Status

Just when we all assumed that the sewer problems in the Valley had gone away, we found out that they haven’t. After the recent dry weather, inspection pit levels had pretty much returned to normal levels and it was largely assumed that the problems had gone away.

However, late in the month it was discovered that the ‘back of houses’ sewer run that is opposite the Village Hall was full and close to overflowing.  The Boss Lane sewer, which it joins, is also dangerously full. TW have visited a few times, but other than pumping out one resident’s inspection pit, have simply checked levels and advised there is little they can do. We keep monitoring.

Ditch Clearance

On the 10th April, the day of the Village litter pick, a small group of volunteers gathered by the pumping station for a general clear-up of the ditches and culverts there.

The culverting where the stream runs under Valley Road was in much need of clearance of leaves, twigs and assorted rubbish.

Fortunately the ditch along towards the Village Hall was in better shape, although the ditch itself is quite deep and difficult to access. Having said that, a couple of hours work has left the area in much better shape. It’s something that we plan to do regularly from now on, perhaps two or three times a year.

Road Drains

After pestering Transport for Bucks via the FixMyStreet website, we have at last had some serious work done on the road drains through the Valley from Church Farm up to the end of Warrendene Road. Hopefully they are all in good order now.

DIG Website

The HVDIG website is no longer being updated. Although still there, the Home page and Blog advise that the web site is no longer being updated and to go to http://www.hughendenresidents.org/dig. 

Paul Woodford

3 May 2021

Spotted in the Valley

After months of requesting the road drains to be jetted and cleaned, something seems to be happening. A team from TfB was spotted mid-week cleaning in Valley Road.

We hope the work continues because a recent audit by a DIG team found that roughly 70 of the 100 or so road drains from Church Farm up to the end of Warrendene were partially or totally blocked.

April Update

Audit of Drains

A small group of 4 within the DIG spent a busy couple of days in March carrying out an audit of the road drains from Church Farm right up through the village to the end of Warrendene Road. The result was that some 70 drains were blocked or partially blocked out of 100 or so. These were reported (individually) via the FixMyStreet website to TfB, and to their credit, the tops of all of them have been brushed since then. Actual cleaning/jetting may take a little longer – it’s only been a year so far.

DIG Website

The DIG website has been rebuilt and is now accessible from within the HVRA website, and adopts the same look and feel as the HVRA website. Take a look – it’s at www.hughendenresidents.org/dig although for the meanwhile the old website is still there at www.hvdig.org .

Status of Sewers

I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief in that the levels in our inspection pits have dropped and the risk of sewage escapes appear to be receding.

There have been two instances of the sewer junction at the corner of the pumping station leaking sewage, causing much consternation in the village. The DIG has written to Thames Water and requested for the inspection hatch to be replaced with a sealed lid. We wait to see if we get a positive answer.

Trees Road

We requested via FixMyStreet that the broken up road surface at the foot of Trees Rd be repaired as it was hazardous and leaving a semi-permanent pool of water there. This area has been quickly repaired, but it remains to be seen if the repair will prevent the pooling of water there – it’s meant to be able to run down the road to the nearest drain. We also need to speak with the water engineer to see if deeper soakaways are feasible there, as one of the soakaways completely overflowed in the last downpour.

Ditches & Culverts Group

We have set up a small group of volunteers for the ditches & stream area near the pumping station, as that is rather prone to accumulating rubbish. The first clean is planned for Saturday 10th April

We know also that for some years just one person has been looking after the ditch area opposite the Harrow, which is also prone to blocking up. It would be good to gather a few others to help out occasionally with that.

Agencies Update

Bucks Council have been successful in their bid regarding the Chilterns & Berkshire Downs Groundwater Resilience project. This means they will receive Defra funding for groundwater monitoring systems, which will include covering Hughenden Valley. A workshop will follow.

Thames Water has advised us that they are introducing a new planning system to replace their existing Drainage Strategy plans. (See the Little Marlow Drainage Strategy on the Documents page of the DIG website). The new planning system is referred to as a Groundwater Impacted System Management Plan (GISMP).

The GISMP’s focus is upon groundwater monitoring and the infiltration of groundwater into the sewage network. Where risk zones are identified it is planned to conduct fixes and improvement interventions within the normal maintenance cycle – presumably this means in the relative short term. Larger interventions will require budget and hence a longer cycle to resolve.